I love comic books, have for quite some time. And while I enjoy them there are times when a story will do something so absurd that even IÂ get pissed off. Of course Linkara has done many episodes of his show discussing this very thing. From the stupidity of Countdown to the ridiculousness of Spider-Man making a deal with devil in “One More Day” to what happened to Ms.Marvel in the god awful Avengers #200 to the just plan horrible “Cry for Justice”.
Today I wanted to talk about instances when something happened in a comic that made me say “Oh please!”.Â I almost scrapped this idea because some of these below are universally hated and I am not the first to bring them up. So the only rule is that these had to be moments that I actually read first and found stupid before I heard about it on AT4W or elsewhere. Oh and of course this is all opinion, if you did like these stories more power to you. I just though they were stupid.
In 1986 John Byrne rebooted the Superman books (though the term reboot wasn’t coined yet). One of the reasons for this was because Superman had became almost to powerful, having all sorts of unnecessary abilities. One was super-ventriloquism. Yes. Another was that he could hypnotize people. It was part of the explanation for why people were fooled by those glasses, part of it was a hypnotic suggestion Superman gave out. But the stupidest thing came in one old issue, Superman #301. Superman needed to dash into action to fight Solomon Grundy but Clark Kent needed to be on the air a the same time (he was a TV newsman at this point). And manages to be in both places. How? Turns out Superman used hypnotism to make Steve Lombard think he was Clark Kent, and then used make-up and a voice modifier to disguise Lombard as Clark to make the illusion complete. Are you frigging kidding me? This was so stupid! Even if I buy the hypnotism baloney, how in the world could Superman have disguised Lombard so well that no one could tell it wasn’t Kent? Dumb.
The above example came from the late 70’s, so I can’t even blame it on the Silver Age. But man, was the Silver Age stupid. One thing that is often overlooked is the way women were treated in the Silver Age. They were there to fall in love with the hero, and that is all. Lois Lane had a whole series devoted to that! But the worst example I ever read came from a Batman story in Brave and the Bold #78 (you can guess how far back this goes). Copperhead is attacking Gotham, so Batman gets Wonder Woman and Batgirl to assist. Do they help to fight the villain or come up with some strategy? Heck no, he’s has them pretend to fall on love with him and their contest to see who will be Batman’s lover is supposed to distract the villain. Not dumb enough? The contest ends up making Wonder Woman and Batgirl really fall in love with Batman and they end up really competing for his love. Oh those wacky female’s! They do help in the end but it’s just so insulting to the women. I hate this comic, it turns two great super heroine’s into drooling adolescent girls! In the end the two snap out of it and Copperhead is finally defeated. I hated his story.
Now truth be told I could go on and on about the idiotic stuff in the Silver Age. Like how Robin and Jimmy Olsen would team up and/or compete with each other. Or how Superman and Batman thought disguising as the other was the solution to everything. But let’s move on to more recent stuff.
Superman does Porn with Big Barda???
Now some may know that AT4W did an episode on this, but I promise that I read these issues and hated this story LOOONNGG before that episode ever hit the internet. As I said, John Byrne rebooted Superman and made him into the character I fell in love with. That doesn’t mean all his ideas were gold. And this story has never been a favorite, mostly because it’s so…icky. Big Barda is captured by a creature called Sleez, and forced to perform acts of perversion. Lovely. Even better is when Superman (long story short) arrives on the scene and ends up also being captured by Sleez. What does this evil creature make our heroes do? A porno. Nope, not kidding at all. Mr.Miracle smashes in and breaks the two out of the spell before to much can happen, but this whole story is just…wrong.
Titans Hunt Goes on….and on…and on
Pretty bad when a storyline meant to attract readers and shake things up makes me drop the book entirely! Again, Linkara mentioned this in AT4W but I did read this when it was first published. I had finally embraced the Titans and was enjoying their book. Than this stupidity happened. 12 issues of nonsense piled on top of nonsense! The premise involves the Wildebeast Society kidnapping all the Titans. It started really well, but it kept going forever and just got dumber and dumber. And the stupid things just got to be to much. Phantasm is really Danny Chase? Cyborg is almost killed and turned into even more of a Cyborg? The villain turns out to be Jericho? He was only the sweetest and nicest character ever created! Yeah he was a tad boring maybe that’s why they did that. And sure he was possessed but they still ruined the character. It would take forever to explain this storyline, suffice to say it was awful and I stopped reading the book altogether when it finally concluded.
Green Lantern Hal Jordan Goes Insane and Kills Everyone!!
I know lots of people liked Kyle Rainer as Green Lantern, but I never really gave him a chance. Why? Because of what they did to Hal Jordan to get him out of the picture! After the destruction of Coast City, Hal was distraught and wanted to bring his friends back to life. When the Guardians refuse to help, what does Hal do? He goes nuts, flies to OA stripping every GL of their ring, kills Kilowogg and Sinestro before entering the power battery and killed every Guardian save one.
Geez guys! At least with Jericho you could argue he was possessed when he turned evil. What was Hal’s excuse? And don’t say the Parallax thing that retcon came around about ten years later! It made sense that Hal would be grieving but to snap like that was a total betrayal of his character, who was a loyal and honest guy. I do give the creators credit for not ignoring this when they finally brought him back. Instead they explained it away with the bug thing which was kind of lame, but I’ll let it go. As for Kyle, I liked some of his stories but for me Green Lantern will always be Hal Jordan.
Between this and Titans Hunt it’s no wonder I was dropping all titles but Superman in the mid 90’s. Ok let’s go back a bit now, back to the stupid days of the 70’s
What? Oh yes my friends. Get this in Brave and the Bold #115 there is a story where Batman gets caught in a trap, and is declared clinically brain dead! No kidding! The Atom finds out about this, and decides he can help Batman solve his final case. He shrinks inside Batman’s brain and manages to animate his corpse. The story is about how he uses a TV receiver to see, and controls Batman making him walk and even fight. You get the feeling this writer really liked the Trek episode “Spock’s Brain”? Bob Haney wrote this and while I respect him, this is really far fetched. And it wasn’t even made in the silver age, I can’t even use that excuse! Oh and the ending? All of the Atom’s fooling around and manipulating causes Batman’s brain to come back to life, and he’s fine! Yeah because that’s really how that works. I need one of those “Of course, don’t you know anything about science” clips!
Blue Beetle and Booster Gold Become Idiots in JLI
When the Justice League was relaunched in the late 80’s it was given a humorous slant. And it was good at first. The characters felt like real people and the stories were pretty well done. But things got silly as time went along, and the worst came in a three parter when Blue Beetle and Booster Gold decide to build a casino on an island annexed by the JLI. Why? To get rich, of course. Blue Beetle was turned into an idiot in this book and Booster Gold was made to be even more greedy than he should have been. So they build the casino but there a couple of problems, not the least of which is that the island is alive! Yeah, I know. The book got sillier and sillier until wiser heads took over and tried to give it a more serious direction. That’s a story for another day. Blue Beetle in his book was awesome and smart, I loved that book and what they did to him for awhile in JLI was an insult.
But wait, what about non-superhero stories? Glad you asked my friends :
I have been waiting to hear what Linkara thought of this, maybe one day I still will. I actually liked the DC run of Star Trek in the 80’s. They did justice to the original characters while creating their own new characters. One of those was a jerk named Bearclaw. Another two were a woman named Nancy and a Klingon named Konom. Ok, looonng story short Nancy and Konom are getting married so they hold a bachelor party for Konom. Including a green Orion slave girl jumping out of a cake. There, the punch is spiked and Beaclaw gets into a fight with Konom. There is a brawl and people get hurt. So what is the stupid part (not the Orion slave girl isn’t it)? Â The punch gets spiked when Chekov, McCoy, and Scotty individually decide the punch needs some kick and each provides different forms of alcohol. Now if this wasn’t a Star Trek book I would be Ok with this, but the idea that McCoy and Scotty would do this is waayyy out there. Especially when Kirk ends up getting smashed in the head with a bottle. The three are later reprimanded, and this whole thing just felt like an insult for these three. Yeah they all drank on the series but they weren’t careless like that. They were senior officers for pete’s sake! Ok Scotty got an alien drunk once but that was a strategy. It’s just to far fetched and I hated that when I read it.
So, what about more recent stuff? I don’t read newer stuff but one thing did catch my attention that I felt deserve a mention.
This one is a small cheat, since I didn’t read the whole series. I did read the first issue, and ay some point the conclusion, so I decided that it was worth a mention. The idea was to darken the DC universe, and that turned me off. So what was dumb about it? The first issue was OK, setting up the shocking death of Sue Dibny. It’s what happened after that which fans cringe at. Zatanna mind wiping Dr.Light? Dr.Light raping Sue Dibny? Zatanna doing another mind wipe on Batman? The killer tuning out to be Jean Loring? What?? Yeah there is just way to make stuoidty in this, and I am glad that I didn’t buy every issue of this series.
Finally, let’s talk about Elseworld’s. The concept is really good, taking characters and putting them in crazy situations. In the old days they were simply called “imaginary stories” which enabled the creators to be as goofy as they wanted. Some are real good, but others…not so much. Superman at Earth’s End is real stupid. Batman:Holy Terror is over the top (not the frank miller one the other). I liked JLA:The Nail but found it’s sequel “Another Nail” unbelievably stupid. I was looking forward to reading Superman/Batman:Generations. But I found some of the choices made real absurd and was thoroughly disappointed by the book. I would re be remiss if I didn’t mention Catwoman:Guardian of Gotham even though I didn’t read that one. And then there was Act of God. Oh man, is there Act of God. This story is so insulting to the heroes that I could be here all day. It basically makes all the heroes into whiny babies and says that Batman is the most awesome of everyone. It’s awful and I am just glad that Linkara tore it apart. Check out the AT4W episode for more.
That’s a few things that pissed me off in comics when I read them. Are there more? Oh sure, and I will probably cobble up another list soon. Until then comment and let me know if you remember any moments when a comic did something so dumb you just said “WTF??”